Ely Tigers’ unbeaten run ended by Fen rivals Wisbech

Ely Tigers Rugby v Wisbech,

Ely Tigers Rugby v Wisbech, - Credit: Archant

Wisbech produced yet another dogged performance to end Ely Tigers’ eight-game winning run and reignite their title push on Saturday afternoon.

The Tigers welcomed Wisbech to Downham Road on a windy afternoon with both out in search of local bragging rights – and a vital win - and it was Wisbech that took it in a feisty Fenland encounter.

The game kicked off with wind advantage to the visitors and Wisbech were forced to absorb a spell of early pressure. A powerful forward drive saw Wisbech push the hosts back into their twenty-two and with intelligent ball recycling at the break down, Wisbech prop Kerrie McMullen went over the try line and with the Harry Newman adding the extra points.

Shortly after, some neat hand work from the backs saw winger Lucas Conner cross the line in the corner, and Ely’s hopes of yet another game unbeaten started to fade.

The derby began to hot up towards the end of the second half, and Wisbech’s scrum half, Jack Malkin, was given a yellow card for retaliation.

Ely made their man advantage count when Lloyd Palmer carried the ball through the line before offloading to Mitchell Kennett who crashed over for an unconverted try to make the half time score 12-5 to the visitors, and to ensure that it was all the play for in the second half.

Ely kicked off the second half with the wind behind them, and soon reduced the arrears with a brace of Joel Scott Paul penalties, but the visitors made sure that Ely’s reign at the top of the league would come to an end after a driving maul once again produced the goods with second row James Griffin scoring the decisive try to seal a 17-11 success.

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Matters are tight at the top of the Eastern Counties Greene King Division One table, with only six points separating first from thrid.

Ely’s third defeat of the season meant that they surrendered top spot to Wymondham, with Wisbech now only five points behind them in third.

Former Wisbech boss Cliff Humphrey, who travelled to Ely for the game, said: “In all my years working with the senior squad at Wisbech this performance was one of the best away performances I have had the pleasure to watch.”

“[Wisbech coach] Leonard Veenendaal is certainly a master tactician a lot of credit must go to him for the way he set the squad up.”

Ely will look to bounce back - but face a two week wait to do so before their monumental clash with Wymondham on February 13.

The Tigers will try to reclaim their place at the top of the Eastern Counties Greene King Division One table, but will be looking over their shoulders if Wisbech take victory when they travel to Woodbridge in two weeks’ time.